Weil Ware in the California Scene (1930s–1960s)

El Patio Iced Tea Set

October 13, 2012–January 26, 2013

in the Vault Gallery
Opening Reception: October 13th, 2nd Saturday, 6-9pm
Catalog: Weil Ware in the California Scene (1930s–1960s)

The pieces in this show characterize the boom of production ceramics that flourished in mid-century Southern California. At the height of this boom, over 600 ceramic factories produced a wide range of collectibles, dinnerware, and household items. The cheerful colors, charming forms, and unique styles made them both popular and practical, while at the same time off-setting the unpleasant realities of the Great Depression and WWII. During the post-war era, the “made in the USA” tag appealed to the patriotic spirit of returning GIs while the style, specific to California, typified the “land of opportunity” and casual lifestyle of the state.

The largest segment of this exhibition consists of the Weil Ware donation made to AMOCA by Jody and Scott Siegler. Their gift is a tribute to their daughter, Julia, and celebrates both her passion and proficiency for the ceramic arts, and it signifies their desire to ignite that passion in other young persons. The Weil Ware dinnerware, made in Los Angeles, was produced in mix and match forms and featured pastel shades with hand-painted images of bamboo, mangos, and flowers. The exhibition includes the Siegler’s gift of vintage photographs taken in the Weil Ware plant. This unique and never-before-seen pairing will offer visitors a glimpse into the work environment of these production facilities including modes of dress, available jobs, and technical aspects of the large and small ceramics companies present in Southern California by the 1950s.

AMOCA has produced a catalog in celebration of the Weil Ware donation, placing these pieces within the context of the mid-century California ceramic scene, including additional images drawn from AMOCA’s Permanent Collection. At the request of the Sieglers, catalogs will be on sale for $19.95 during the exhibition, with proceeds going to support AMOCA’s outreach and educational programs.

Also exhibited are groupings of collectibles from Freeman McFarlin, a gift of Wilber Held; animal figurines made by Howard Pierce, a gift in memory of Beverly L. Hemingway; Florence ceramic figurines donated by Doug Foland; El Patio dinnerware, produced by Gladding McBean, gifted by Gabe Ugolini; and additional examples of California ware given to AMOCA by Thomas Ahern, Martin Ehrlich, and Mary Humboldt.

Weil Ware full setting

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